…Ray Negron’s kiddie tome, “One Last Time”, presents what the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner calls “a softened and idealized version of (George) Steinbrenner,” though mentioning the book’s genesis occured when the author was caught writing graffitti on Yankee Stadium and was made
assistant to the traveling secretary a bat boy by the controversial principal owner.
Negron, 53, grew up in the Bronx. His brothers fell into drug use, a cousin was murdered, and another cousin died of AIDS. Yet he has made a living in baseball, working for the Yankees, the Cleveland Indians and the Texas Rangers, and playing briefly in the minor leagues.
œIf it wasn™t for that ballpark and George, I don™t even know that I™d be alive today, Negron said. œSo I can honestly say that ballpark and that man saved my life. That™s what this book is all about.
A bat boy named Ray is the central figure in all three of Negron™s books, the latest of which was released on Tuesday. The co-stars of the others were children stricken with illness, but Steinbrenner shares the lead role this time.
Steinbrenner comforts Ray the bat boy, who cries upon learning that the old ballpark is closing and stages a final game for the Stadium™s ghosts. The emotions were similar for the character™s inspiration.
œIt™s my way of being able to finally walk away, Negron said. œIt™s very, very personal.